With a system of theology which acknowledges its own fallibility, and asks and expects Divine guidance and enlightenment to the end of the Church's journey, it seems remarkable that this Volume, written 19 years ago, requires little correction, in order to be in full line with the latest thought of Bible students respecting the teachings of the Divine Word.
The keynote of this Volume is the Ransom-price. Apparently this doctrine, from which radiates all other doctrines connected with our salvation, has been in a great measure lost sight of, obscured, from the time the apostles fell asleep in death until now. Bible students have found the Ransom to be the key which unlocks the entire Bible – which decides at once what is Truth and what is error.
It is not surprising that, appreciating the subject and studying it so carefully, our views respecting it have become more and more clear. The Bible statements respecting the Ransom have not in any wise changed, nor has our confidence in them changed; but they are more luminous; we
understand them better. We hold that the Bible statements on the subject are infallible, and that it is because we are not infallible that our views are capable of expansion as we search the Scriptures and are guided into the understanding of them as promised, by the holy Spirit. We are not demurring against the Divine Plan of gradual unfoldment, but rejoicing in it. We have nothing to apologize for. The Ransom looms before us more grandly with every fresh ray of Divine Light.
Now we see that our Lord Jesus left the Heavenly glory that He might accomplish a ransoming work for Adam and his race. We see that His change of nature from a spirit to a human being was with a view to enabling Him to be the Ransom-price – a perfect man for a perfect man – Antilutron – a corresponding price. We now see that Jesus gave Himself to be a Ransom-price for all at the time of His consecration at thirty years of age at Jordan. He continued in giving the Ransom-price, that is, in laying down His life, which in due time would constitute the Ransom-price for Father Adam and his race. He finished this work of laying down His life, surrendering it, sacrificing it, permitting it to be taken from Him, when He on the cross cried: "It is finished!" Nothing more could be laid down than was there laid down – a Ransom, a corresponding price, for Father Adam. But it was not paid over as a price in settlement of Adam's account, else Adam and the entire sinner race would then and there have been turned over to Jesus. The price was merely laid in the hands of Divine Justice as a deposit, to the credit of the One who had died, that He might apply it later in harmony with the Divine Plan. Our Lord Jesus was raised from the dead a spirit being of the Divine nature, as a reward for His faithfulness and loyalty to God in surrendering His earthly life sacrificially. "Him hath God highly exalted and given a name above every name."
Jesus could not make any use of the Ransom-price while
still on earth. He could not even bring His disciples into fellowship with the Father. Hence He declared: "I ascend to My God and to your God, to My Father and to your Father." He also declared: "Except I go away, the holy Spirit will not come." Ten days after our Lord ascended, His followers, having met according to His direction in the upper room, received the Pentecostal blessing – the evidence that they had been accepted of the Father through the merit of Jesus' sacrifice. Jesus had used as an imputation the Ransom merit which He had deposited in the Father's hands; but He did not give it to His disciples. It was not for them as a possession, but for the world – "a Ransom for all." All of Jesus' disciples renounced their share in the Ransom blessings that are coming to the world at the Second Advent of our Lord, that they may have a share with the Redeemer in a still greater blessing – honor and immortality. The Ransom-price is designed to bring to Adam and his race the earthly life and earthly rights and honors which were lost by Father Adam, when by disobedience he became a sinner, the loss being entailed upon all of his family, the entire human race. The time for giving the results of the Ransom, viz., Restitution to Adam and his race, is after our Lord's Second Advent, when He shall set up His Kingdom, designed for the very purpose of bringing back the rebellious race into full fellowship with the Father and to eternal life – as many as will.
The Call of the Church is not to give an additional Ransom-price, nor to add to that which Jesus gave; for His is sufficient. The Church's invitation is to demonstrate that they have the same spirit, disposition, that Jesus had, to do the Father's will at any cost – even unto death; and those demonstrating this may be accepted of the Father as members of a Royal Priesthood, of which Jesus is the Head; as a Bride class, Jesus being the glorious Heavenly Bridegroom. It is required that these come back to God under a Covenant
the same as Jesus made, "Gather My saints together unto Me, those that have made a Covenant with Me by sacrifice." Psalm 50:5
Not until these shall have been called and chosen and found faithful and been glorified, will the time come for Christ and His Bride class to take control of the world for their uplift; and not until then will it be proper for the Savior to transfer to Divine Justice the merit of His death, which He placed in the Father's hands as a deposit when dying, with the words: "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit" – My life and all of its rights. When this Ransom-price shall have been formally delivered over to Justice in the end of this Age, it will no longer be a deposit at the command of the Savior but will have been exchanged for Adam and his race, all of whom will be immediately transferred by the Father to the Son, that His Millennial Kingdom may begin and all the families of the earth be subjected to the Redeemer, that He may uplift them out of sin and death conditions to all that was lost in Adam – to all for which Jesus died to regain for man.
But the Church class, in process of selection for nearly nineteen centuries, could not be acceptable sacrifices to God as was their Redeemer, Jesus, because He alone was holy, harmless, undefiled – we are imperfect, sinners, and God does not accept imperfect, blemished, sinful sacrifices. What, then, could be done to make us acceptable sacrifices and to permit us to be associated with Jesus on the spirit plane? The proper thing was done – an imputation of the merit of Jesus was granted by Divine Justice on behalf of all who would enter into a Covenant of Sacrifice, and for whom Jesus would become Advocate, or Surety. This imputation of the merit of His sacrifice to the Church by Jesus might be likened to a mortgage, or an encumbrance, upon the Ransom-sacrifice, which would hinder it from being applied to the world until its application to the Church shall be completed.
The Church's Covenant is to sacrifice all their earthly life and rights, that they may become New Creatures in Christ and joint-heirs with Him on the spirit plane.
It was on the basis of this imputation of our coming Restitution blessings, and our own personal consecration to the Lord, that our Redeemer, acting as our great High Priest and Advocate, brought us into that relationship with the Father's Plan which permitted us to receive the begetting of the holy Spirit, and to cease to be of the human family and become members of the spiritual family, of which Jesus is the Head. All of the Church, therefore, are sharers with Jesus in a work of self-sacrifice, in that we tender ourselves to the Lord and He, as God's High Priest, offers us up as a part of His own sacrifice. Thus we "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." Thus we suffer with Him that we may also reign with Him. Not until all of the spirit-begotten ones shall have passed into death will the merit of Christ, placed on deposit in the hands of Justice when He died, and mortgaged in the interest of the Church, be released from that mortgage and be ready for full application in the purchase of Adam and his race under the terms of the New Covenant.
If we were writing this Volume again, we would here and there make very minor differences of expression in harmony with what we have here presented. We ask our readers to have this in mind. The differences are not of a kind that will permit us to say that the expressions in the book are wrong – merely they are not as full and clear as they might have been if the writing were to be done now.
For some up-to-date comments on the New Covenant, we request the new readers to note the author's foreword to "Studies," Volume VI.